Monday, June 15, 2009
While The Gardener Was Away...
The gardener may have been getting some rest and relaxation this weekend, but the vegetable garden was not. I harvested a generous amount this morning. In the basket, starting with the Royal Burgundy snap beans and moving clockwise: Magnolia Blossom snap peas, Golden Sweet snow peas, Landreth Stringless snap beans, and Green Beauty snow peas. The beans are the first of the season. The snow peas are slowing down and may be done soon since the plants are starting to get powdery mildew. The snap peas are about halfway done.
To the left of the basket are a couple of the remaining Atomic Red carrots and some Amarillo Yellow and Lunar White carrots. The red carrots had a tendency to bolt but the ones that didn't have been sizing up nicely over the past two or three months. The Amarillo Yellow and Lunar white carrots were slower to size up but all of a sudden they are getting big, especially the yellow ones.
On Friday morning I picked the one zucchini that had formed. Look what happened over the weekend, eight zucchini in three days! And then there's a mound of Senposai whose leaves seem to be having a competition with the zucchini to see who one can grow faster. Well, no, not quite, I should have started picking the Senposai a week ago but I've not been eating at home enough lately to make use of it so it stayed on the plant.
Friday morning's harvest also included a big bag of snow peas and a pound of snap peas. One pound of snap peas is just a tad more than what it takes to fill a quart canning jar so they were made into the second batch of pickles. I think I'll blanch and freeze the snow peas that I picked today since I still have the bagful that I picked on Friday.
Here's my easy recipe for pickled snap peas.
Pickled Sugar Snap Peas
1 lb sugar snap peas, the freshest possible
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 fresh or dried chile peppers
1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar, 4 to 6% acidity
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
Wash and string the snap peas. Pack them into a clean 1 quart canning jar with the tarragon, garlic, and dried chiles. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Pour the cooled vinegar mixture into the packed jar to completely cover the peas, cap and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks before eating. Store the pickles in the refrigerator.
I used a Spanish Moscatel vinegar that is wonderfully fruity. I highly recommend it if you can find it, otherwise use the tastiest vinegar you can find. A fruity apple cider vinegar would be a good alternative. Just be sure that the vinegar you use is at least 4% acidity since these pickles are not processed and it's the acidity that kills any harmful organisms that might be present.